NOTE: Part 1 of "I NEVER CAN SAY "GOOD-BYE" to SHOGANAI (After all)" can be found at
By Kevin Stoda, Middle East, East Asia, USA
Last month, I began writing this series entitled, I NEVER CAN SAY "GOOD-BYE" to SHOGANAI (After all). I had originally intended to write on the topic of "shoganaism" (or the "It can't be helped" syndrome) in the Middle East and Asia almost a decade ago. At that time I had realized that Asians, whether living in far-flung Japan or the Middle East--like Kuwait and the UAE--had far more in common culturally than I had imagined. Since that time, I have seen the same sort of stoicism as having surfaced more-and-more in the West, as well, in recent decades.
Let me begin by noting that Middle Easterner are high context cultures who rely on building relationships over time in order to do business. 
"High -context cultures are characterized by extensive information networks among family, friends, associates, and even clients."
This building of (or birth of) implicit relationships involves the collecting of something called, "Wasta". Wasta can be collected from someone in a relationship quickly or more often over years and ultimately cashed in upon in key situations.
Likewise, in Eastern Asia we also find high context cultures where such "Wasta" is collected and then banked over time for future usage in building relationships. In Chinese it is called " Guanxi ( ---- ä¿ )". In Japanese, it is known nowadays as CONE (pronounced "cone-A"), which is an acronym for the Western word "connections. (I have written about this in more detail in a recent article, entitled "Building Connections and Gaining International Perspectives in Taiwan and East Asia"
More pertinent to this second section of I NEVER CAN SAY "GOOD-BYE" to SHOGANAI (After all), there are other similarities between Southwest Asian and Northeast Asian perspectives on life and how we relate to our world and/or destinies . For example, both Arab-Muslim cultures and the Japanese have a tendency to often state flatly that either destiny or some God is uncontrollably in charge of their world (their business, their home life, their social development, and their approach to traditions). In almost all East Asian and Souteast Asian cultures this is all implicitly accepted. This is part of the high context culture of East Asia. Meanwhile, in both the Middle East and in Japan, one is stoically expected to move forward and/or rely on one's Gods to bring about a better ultimate end or destiny.
Thus, inn Japanese, I would often hear colleagues and speakers on TV state flatly, "Shoganai" (present tense) or "Shikatta ganai" (past tense), which can be translated as "It can't be helped" or "It couldn't be helped, i.e. this situation was unavoidable." In many cases--from my Western perspective--, I had thought, "What nonsense, if they really wanted to, they could change the situation or change traditions or change the status quo of behavior--if they so desired to do so."
I should now reiterate that " Shoganai is a Japanese word that literally means " there is no way of doing, it can't be helped -- nothing can be done' . It is [an] interesting word, because it shows the culture of restraint in Japan -- people should not complain. Indeed, complaining in Japan has been always kind of a taboo. Complaining is a sign of weakness. Relative word to shoganai is gaman, which means something like "Be patient".